No matter how hard we try, sometimes it happens; we get sunburned. In part I of this blog series, we discussed some tips to help avoid getting too much sun. For example, it’s a good idea to apply sunscreen with a high SPF number, wear loose-fitting clothes, or stay in the shade to protect against the rays. These are just a few of the cautionary steps you can take to help prevent a painful burn.
Nevertheless, we may forget to apply enough sunscreen, stay out too long, or wind up somewhere without the protection of shade. Whatever the reasons, burns can happen. They’re painful and may not begin to appear for up to four hours following exposure. The pain, then, can continue to increase for up to 48 hours and not completely heal for up to five days. Also, with some burns, peeling may occur between three and eight days.
The Center for Disease Control recommends several steps you can take to lessen the severity of sunburn pain and help with healing. The tips below can be used to help cool the pain and aid healing should you overstay your time in the sun. The sooner you apply these suggestions after being out in the sun, the sooner you will realize their benefits. According to the CDC:
1. Treat symptoms of headaches, pain, and fever with aspirin, acetaminophen, or ibuprofen.
2. Drink plenty of water to reduce fluid loss.
3. Take a cool bath or apply cool, wet cloths to the burn areas to relieve the pain.
4. Avoid any further exposure to the sun until the existing burn is completely healed.
5. Apply topical hydrocortisone (1% or less) cream or an over-the-counter moisturizing cream to help both the healing and the pain.
In some cases, sunburn may be severe, and blistering occurs. When this happens, it may be advisable to seek the advice of medical professionals such as the professional staff at one of Emergency Hospital System’s ERs. Blisters not only add to the pain but can burst and become infected. The CDC recommends seeing a health care professional should any of the following occur. Seek medical attention if:
1. The sunburn is severe and covers more than 15% of the body.
2. You become dehydrated (dry mouth and skin, fever, headaches, and dark urine.)
3. You develop a temperature higher than 101° F.
4. The extreme pain of the burn lasts more than 48 hours.
In all cases, before self-medicating, seek the advice of a medical professional. The Emergency Hospital Systems’ ER’s are open 24/7/365 for your convenience and can examine your burn and provide expert advice and treatments. You can call for an appointment or simply ‘walk-in.’
We have five community locations to serve you (Cleveland (2), Spring, Porter, and Humble.) There’s plenty of close-in, free parking, and our wait times are short. Visit a nearby EHS emergency room for sunburns or any urgent medical need. Our physicians and staff are ready to assist. Call today for an appointment or questions, 281-592-5400.